After years of learning the ropes in Siganid culture, good to know that Buguey fisherfolk has already mastered the technology and now gaining the image as a Siganid producer in the province and even in the region.
Siganid, with the scientific name "Siganidae", is known to the locals as "Malaga" - a high-value commercial fish species.
It was in 1995 when the town started to venture into Malaga culture when the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) regional office 2 introduced the technology. But it was only in 2018 when the local government unit took full responsibility for identifying the most suited water condition, feeding and management practices.
Since that year, they almost perfected the technology especially when BFAR institutionalized fish cage monitoring as part of their project sustainability plus the involvement of the LGU through technology demonstration, Municipal Agriculturist Danilo Rumpon said.
Mayor Licerio Antiporda said, for last year alone, about 172 metric tons of Siganids were produced and they are optimistic that they could reach around 200 metric tons for this year. This is of great contribution to the fish sufficiency level of the province.
With his initiative, July was set for the "Malaga Festival" because this is the time of the year when the harvest is at its peak.
While the LGU wants to harvest twice a year, they were bothered with the availability of fingerlings, thus, their desire to put up a hatchery which initial requests were already made with BFAR.
It’s good that Buguey is blessed with a brackishwater that is highly suitable for Malaga – brackishwater which the mayor describes as “perfect ang timpla” contributed to the ideal growth of Siganids.
While they experienced losses during the early years because fish cages were destroyed during calamities, slowly they learned proper timing or stocking, and now, they utilize both fish cage and fishpond for growing or a total production area for siganid alone of 3.44 hectares.
To showcase that Malaga culture is a promising venture, a 350-meter Malaga Grill is just a glimpse of the town’s desire to be included in the Guinness Book of World Records.
With more than 2,000 kilos of siganids grilled at about 5-6 pieces a kilo, an estimate of 12,000 pieces grilled fish were served during the”Open Lunch”, where almost all barangay folk participated and witnessed this first of its kind event.
Videos taken especially the actual grilling and posted by various media platforms went viral as netizens wowed the event while Bugueyenos took pride in sharing said posts.
But for one Bugueyenos who witnessed the event, it doesn’t matter if they can make it or not to the Guinness, because what they after for is the celebration and thanksgiving to the Almighty for the blessings bestowed to them.
With Mayor Licerio’s leadership and with his assurance for continuous support to Siganid farmers, Beth Villaflor, fish vendor, said the next years will assure a more bountiful harvest and a longer if not a kilometer grilled Malaga will be showcased. (OTB/ GVB/PIA-Cagayan)